'Mirage' the rare corpse flower to make debut at SF Academy of Sciences

Bay City News
Friday, February 23, 2024
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SAN FRANCISCO -- A popular, albeit repulsive, attraction at the California Academy of Sciences is making an earlier-than-usual appearance this year.

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The Academy's resident corpse flower, Mirage, is expected to bloom sometime between Feb. 25-29. The bloom, a rare and smelly event, lasts one to three days and draws extra visitors to the science museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Blooms of the plant, Amorphophallus titanum, can reach 10 feet high and emit a smell reminiscent of carrion, rotten fish, garlic, and sweaty feet.

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The timing of the bloom is unusual and the plant has just reached average age of maturity for blooming.

"Because of the tremendous energy needed to flower, Mirage may never bloom again or will take an additional two to three years to produce another flower," according to the Academy.

The corpse flower has been under the care of horticulturists at Steinhart Aquarium for the past five years. It was gifted to the Academy by the Conservatory of Flowers in 2017.